There are a few themes that permeate today’s U.S. real estate market – innovative technology advancements, live-work-play environments, and the repurposing of distressed or stranded real estate.
Technology advancements contribute to every industry, and real estate is no exception. It affects how we find our information, how we search for homes and neighborhoods, how we promote our real estate businesses, how we interact with consumers, and how quickly we can connect with them. We live in a society that demands shorter response time to satisfy many of our needs. Being able to connect with a potential buyer at the touch of a button, being able to showcase our thought leadership in an innovative way to attract business, and being able to find what we’re looking for in record time are what drives today’s real estate market.
Advancements in the use of technology have created the reality of vertical growing farms in urban areas in buildings that were no longer inhabited. Technology has contributed to the green building movement. Technology developments have led to smart buildings that attract today’s health conscious consumer. Healthy buildings promote productivity and create a competitive advantage that attracts and retains quality tenants. The Internet of Things (IoT) has become the technology of choice for improving building performance quickly, flexibly, and affordably. It enables interactive control of a single facility or a portfolio of properties in managing building equipment – detecting malfunctions before they become major repair issues, extending the life of equipment, reducing overhead, and improving customer service.
Live-work-play environments are in demand and there are many large projects in the works in the U.S. to cater to this need. This type of environment has historically has meant urban living – living near work, shopping, and entertainment. It is starting to mean building these environments in non-urban settings so that people can enjoy the same type of living. These new development opportunities are typically long-term, done in phases, and with extensive studies supporting the financial commitment. These projects require commitment and compromise among government, developers, and financial backers. The projects include incorporating many forms of transit, attracting businesses, both retail and corporate, housing, open space, and the like. The benefits of this type of living have come to mean the use of more public transit instead of driving, resulting in reduced traffic and the ensuing benefits to the environment, and more people interaction. Businesses not set in urban areas are smart to consider establishing themselves in these type of environments, as the suburban commercial office parks are still struggling in the current economy.
The repurposing of distressed or stranded real estate has generated some very creative uses for assets that were sitting vacant in suburban or rural markets with no tenant prospects, small town downtowns in need revitalization, historic buildings, and vacant buildings in urban markets. Large revitalization projects that are prevalent today include the repurposing of office campuses of Fortune 500 companies. Large developers are taking on the enormous task of creating a pseudo-urban environment in a suburban market, using assets that need repositioning. Taking into consideration the current trend of many consumers, including the millennial generation and the baby-boomer generation, wanting to live, work, and play in one place, developers are taking on the challenge of bringing all the pieces together to develop the needs and wants of today’s consumers.
The U.S. real estate market is varied in its offerings to consumers of all types and investors, landlords, developers, and consultants in this arena are constantly assessing how to work with the market, in whatever stage it’s in, to keep up with the demands of consumers.